The Lord of the Rings Illustrated
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Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Mar 22
2022/3/22 22:00:46 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Mr. Underhill wrote:

Here is what Hammond and Scull say about the 2nd device pictured here. Taken from Artist and Illustrator.

The focus in Earendil's device lies in the Silmaril of Earendil depicted in the centre, radiating six light beams towards the edges. In the dark corners the moon in its phases is shown. The presence of the moon might reflect Earendil's destiny to become a star, but it is also the only thing that prevents this device from being entirely symmetrical. This perhaps distinguishes him as being Half-elven. The six light rays are accompanied by six others, that seem to go in the opposite direction. Thus forming twelve "points", a clear relatedness with Idril's device is seen (Idril being Earendil's mother), which is reinforced by the shared blue background of the two devices.

Awesome, thanks so much for posting this. I honestly hadn't noticed the phases of the Moon in the second one.

The six circles and four diamonds in the first one really intrigue me, although maybe they don't have a special meaning and were drawn for decorative purposes.

Also, I find it interesting that the second one has the Silmaril emphasized, while the first one seems to have a star in the center of another star.
Mar 23
2022/3/23 0:55:52 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Rather than phases of the moon, I should think the depiction in the 'second device' is of the phases of Venus, which are discernible to the naked eye (for those benefitting from excellent vision or correction), and very clear with even binoculars or a small telescope.
Mar 23
2022/3/23 16:49:58 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

oxonianus wrote:

Rather than phases of the moon, I should think the depiction in the 'second device' is of the phases of Venus, which are discernible to the naked eye (for those benefitting from excellent vision or correction), and very clear with even binoculars or a small telescope.

I agree 100% with you on this one, the phases of Venus make a lot of sense! I don't think Tolkien offered a mythological explanation for these phases.
Mar 23
2022/3/23 17:49:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
FWIW, I'll note that we never see the "full Venus" from Earth, because that occurs only when Venus is opposite us in our orbit around the Sun, at which time Venus is of course obscured from our view by the Sun. And of course we also only see the "new Venus" when it transits the face of the Sun from our point of view (and so only in views through a strongly-filtered telescope — at least, by human eyes!)
Mar 23
2022/3/23 20:03:45 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

FWIW, I'll note that we never see the "full Venus" from Earth, because that occurs only when Venus is opposite us in our orbit around the Sun, at which time Venus is of course obscured from our view by the Sun. And of course we also only see the "new Venus" when it transits the face of the Sun from our point of view (and so only in views through a strongly-filtered telescope — at least, by human eyes!)

I thought as much, but couldn't articulate it quite that well, thanks Aelfwine
Mar 23
2022/3/23 21:19:08 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Excellent points, Aelfwine! Perhaps he filled out the series with the new and full phases simply for symmetry. Despite their incomplete visibility by human eyes, the phases of Venus are, I think it fair to say, more relevant to that emblem/device than the phases of the moon.
Mar 28
2022/3/28 9:44:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Another proof is the size of crescent Venus is much larger than full Venus, which is shown in the heraldry. Also in another version stars took the place of the phases, again suggesting they are Venus.
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